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Old 07-19-2009, 06:50 PM   #1
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I Ride: Triumph Speed Triple, Tiger 800 XC
How to measure DRZ chain correctly
So, I've posted about the problems I had before with the DRZ's chain, which I'm putting down to my own ignorance about how to measure its slack correctly. I wonder if someone here could take a sec to answer a quick question about how to measure the slack correctly. It's been about 600 miles since the new chain was put on and I'm going to be correct about maintaining this one.

So, I just took the pictures below and what's confusing me is that with the chain guide in place, I don't see how I can ever make an accurate measurement of the slack...when I lift up it touches the top part, when I pull down it's blocked by the bottom part. So when you all measure the slack, do you remove the chain guide first? Slack measures about 1.5" now (spec is 1.6"-2") but I can tell the chain guide is reducing the measure, just not how much...




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Old 07-19-2009, 09:03 PM   #2
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I Ride: Aprilia Factory, 525SMR, DRZ400sm, and a gaggle of others
run it.

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Old 07-19-2009, 09:13 PM   #3
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The service manual doesn't say anything about the chain guide; it just says to measure with the bike on the kickstand. Since you're so close, and it's still got a little bit of time to stretch, just do what Norm said. "Ride it!"

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Old 07-19-2009, 09:13 PM   #4
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Is the rear wheel on or off the ground?

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Old 07-20-2009, 05:30 AM   #5
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Three fingers on the top run with the bike on the side stand.
Yours is too tight.

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Old 07-20-2009, 08:03 AM   #6
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You should check it with the wheel on the ground, not in the air. Another way to check if it's too tight... sit on the bike, then look down at the chain. With your weight on it, is it now taut? If so, it's too tight, there should still be some play to account for swingarm movement.

Remember, a little loose is better than a little tight.

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Old 07-20-2009, 08:55 AM   #7
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by dragracer1951 View Post
Three fingers on the top run with the bike on the side stand.
Yours is too tight.
Strange, it came to me that way from having its service done at Eastside.

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Old 07-20-2009, 08:56 AM   #8
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by goslow View Post
Is the rear wheel on or off the ground?
Wheel was on the ground in pics. I do have a lift for cleaning it...

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Old 07-20-2009, 09:00 AM   #9
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I Ride: Triumph Speed Triple, Tiger 800 XC
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by GixxerPete View Post
You should check it with the wheel on the ground, not in the air. Another way to check if it's too tight... sit on the bike, then look down at the chain. With your weight on it, is it now taut? If so, it's too tight, there should still be some play to account for swingarm movement.

Remember, a little loose is better than a little tight.
Awesome, thanks Pete!

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Old 07-20-2009, 09:04 AM   #10
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by dragracer1951 View Post
Three fingers on the top run with the bike on the side stand.
Yours is too tight.
Two things jump out at me from this:

- I can't expect the bike to come to me from a service with correct chain tension

- the narrow range described in manuals isn't always to be taken literally?

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Old 07-20-2009, 09:31 AM   #11
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^^^
Ding ding ding
the actual ammount of slack, at Pete alludes to, is dependent on how much you weigh and how your suspension is set up. It's a function of travel.
I've seen a ton of bikes come out of a shop wrong.
Most shops deal with street bikes. As you've found, Tards are different.

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Old 07-20-2009, 09:49 AM   #12
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^^ Yup that's the key difference that throws a lot of people off. Look at the total travel for the rear suspension of a sport bike (or most street bikes for that matter) vs a dirt bike or tard. It's a *big* difference, and you have to have enough chain slack to account for that, or it binds up your suspension and puts a lot of strain/wear on your chain.

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Old 07-20-2009, 10:05 AM   #13
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Thanks all.

Was massively glad to be on the DRZ on Saturday. Went to MOHAI to see Serenity at Equality Now event (IMAGEEK) and ended up late, a parking lot away, which could've resulted in another 15 minutes going around the block. Except that curbs between driveways mean nothing to a tard...

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Old 07-20-2009, 12:24 PM   #14
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yeah looks too tight. i lay on the bike and pull the swingarm up while pushing down on the bike then measure the slack from there.make sure you are in neutral. better loose than tight (for bike chains anyhow )

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Old 07-20-2009, 12:33 PM   #15
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by dragracer1951 View Post
Three fingers on the top run with the bike on the side stand.
Yours is too tight.
This puts you in the ball mark...I always used this rule with my dirtbikes and my 'tard (08DRZ400SM) and had no problems in my 20+ years of riding...

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Old 07-22-2009, 07:57 PM   #16
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I Ride: Triumph Speed Triple, Tiger 800 XC
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by GixxerPete View Post
You should check it with the wheel on the ground, not in the air. Another way to check if it's too tight... sit on the bike, then look down at the chain. With your weight on it, is it now taut? If so, it's too tight, there should still be some play to account for swingarm movement.

Remember, a little loose is better than a little tight.
So, sitting on it, there was enough play that I was able to get my fingers under it and move it. Not a lot but enough to comfortably get my fingers under it.

Took this pic with me having 3 fingers under the chain in the top run. Look slack enough or somewhat tight? The chain adjusters are fully forward on this new chain...(I haven't adjusted it...it helps to know I should measure slack on top and not bottom - the chain guide gets in the way of measuring on the bottom)

(Don't mean to be obsessive here but I've messed up expensively on bike maintenance twice this Spring and mean to purge my ignorance.)


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Old 07-23-2009, 04:36 AM   #17
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That's pretty close Don
If your adjusters are all the way forward, that's all you're gonna get till it streaches a little
Pavin had a good idea of leaning across the bike to load the suspension and check for slack there. You would obviously not need as much slack at the tightest suspension position...

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Old 08-05-2009, 05:50 AM   #18
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by dragracer1951 View Post
That's pretty close Don
If your adjusters are all the way forward, that's all you're gonna get till it streaches a little
Pavin had a good idea of leaning across the bike to load the suspension and check for slack there. You would obviously not need as much slack at the tightest suspension position...
One more n00b question on the chain thing: does it differ based on the kind of riding I'm doing or is the "three fingers under the chain" guideline the same for street or fire roads? Mostly riding street these days and I was wondering if I needed to tweak the chain tension when switching, either way.

Hoping to take a road trip on the DRZ in a month or two and now I need to check thumpertalk about top suggested maintenance mods. e.g., I'll do an oil change before than and it could be a good time to loctite the stator screws...

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Old 08-05-2009, 07:53 AM   #19
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by donbcivil View Post
One more n00b question on the chain thing: does it differ based on the kind of riding I'm doing or is the "three fingers under the chain" guideline the same for street or fire roads? Mostly riding street these days and I was wondering if I needed to tweak the chain tension when switching, either way.

Hoping to take a road trip on the DRZ in a month or two and now I need to check thumpertalk about top suggested maintenance mods. e.g., I'll do an oil change before than and it could be a good time to loctite the stator screws...
No... there is no need to adjust the chain for street/dirt. If it's right, it's right, doesn't really matter where you're riding.

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Old 08-05-2009, 07:54 AM   #20
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Don
The three fingers in the chain is with you NOT on the bike. Just wanted to clarify that because in my "before my coffee" slowness I for the impression you were checking with you on the bike.
Change the oil with a high quality ester based 15/50 synthetic like silkolene every 1000 miles.
The bottom end of your motor will thank you.
Do all the locktite fixs.
Stator screws and starter clutch. Mine backed out of the starter clutch and killed the stator.
Locktite the splines on the countershaft sprocket. Mine wasn't and the nut backed off killing the oil seal. This one has the potential to drain all the oil very quickly onto the rear tire....
Locktite the counterbalance nut and the primary nut as well as the waterpump fix.
Also round the edges on the shifter and brake lever because if you go down on them, they will bust a cover.
Ask me how I know that....

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